How To Create a Furniture Placement Plan

How To Create a Furniture Placement Plan

Marcia Prentice
Feb 8, 2010

Today we've invited new Apartment Therapy Los Angeles contributor Marcia Prentice to share her first post for us, an informative Home Hack which may help reduce a lot of the guesswork involved in rearranging and decorating a new space from scratch using some simple and affordable preparation.

What You Need

Equipment [OR] Tools

  • Paper (preferably a 24" x 18" sheet)
  • pencil
  • scale ruler
  • straight edge
  • eraser
  • drafting dots/tape (or a low adhesive tape)
  • measuring tape
  • tracing paper
  • 30-60-90 triangle and T-square are optional


When moving into a new home/apartment, one is faced with the daunting task of decorating a new, open area and purchasing all new furniture. With anything in life, is it always best to have plan before setting forth. Before purchasing any furniture and accessories, layout your space on paper, so you you'll know how to fill in the space effectively and within the limits of your new home while avoiding layout mistakes, such as positioning lighting too far from outlets or in the way of a door swing. By mapping out all relevant pieces in your home in advance, you'll reduce stress and physical labor decorating your home.

1. Measure the entire room including ceiling height, doors, windows, built-ins and any niches. Also, locate all outlets, phone jacks and cable jacks.

2. Using the scale ruler and a straight edge (preferably a T-square and 30-60-90 triangle), draw your floorplan to ½" scale (the scale could be smaller or larger depending upon the size of your space and the size of paper being used). Each number on the ½" scale indicates one foot.

Draw in outlets, phone jacks, cable jacks, built-ins, openings and niches. Include all doors, with the appropriate door swing and windows. Draw a border around the frame to indicate wall thickness (the average is 5") and write in all major dimensions.

3. Once the core floor plan is drawn, draw furniture blocks on tracing paper using the same scale as the floor plan. For a sofa, draw 6'x3' rectangle according to ½ scale - keep it simple, using the average sizes for furnishing for the foundation of your plans. If you find you want a slightly smaller or larger piece, you can always create another furniture block. Draw as many different blocks as you see fit for your space and for layout experimentation.

4. Arrange your furniture blocks on the floor plan to determine your space plan. Repeat this step until you find the desired layout, paying particular attention to door swings, the location of outlets, spacing between furniture, and traffic flow. For example, the standard distance needed for a walkway is 3 feet.

5. Now that you have created a furniture placement plan it will be much easier to of shopping with a set list to fill your space. Bring the floor plan while shopping, with furniture blocks taped on (or better yet, snap a digital photo or use your mobile phone's camera). This way you'll always have a plan to reference when choosing which size furniture best fits within the dimensions of your room.

Additional Notes: An additional step one can take is using painter's tape on the actual floor of the room to designate placement and location before actually moving/purchasing major pieces.

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(Top photo: Flickr member thundertype licensed for use under Creative Commons; Plan images: Marcia Prentice)

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